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News Details

Port Improves Air Quality, Reducing Health Risks

Diesel emissions cut by 85 percent since 2005

October 13, 2015


The Port of Long Beach has surpassed every air pollution reduction milestone set for 2014 by the landmark San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan, according to an analysis released today.

An annual, comprehensive inventory of port-related air pollution emissions in 2014 found the Port’s efforts to reduce pollution have cut diesel particulates by 85 percent since 2005, surpassing the CAAP goal for 2014 of a 72 percent reduction. In addition to the drop in diesel emissions, smog-forming nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides have dropped 50 percent and 97 percent respectively. The corresponding goals for the year are 22 percent and 93 percent.

The reasons for the air quality improvements include the Clean Trucks Program, low-sulfur fuel regulations for ships, increased use of shore power for cargo ships and the Port’s Green Flag Vessel Speed Reduction Program.

“The Port of Long Beach remains the greenest Port in the world, reducing emissions while increasing economic activity,” Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia said. “The Port’s consistent commitment to sustainability and our environment should be celebrated.”

“When the Clean Air Action Plan was adopted almost 10 years ago, the Port made a promise to the community to reduce air pollution and to be a better neighbor,” said Harbor Commission President Lori Ann Guzmán. “While our work is not finished, these results show our commitment to living up to our responsibilities as the Green Port.”

The 2014 levels of diesel particulates and sulfur dioxides improved from 2013 levels, when overall reductions were measured at 82 percent and 90 percent, respectively. However, nitrogen oxides increased slightly in the study, down 50 percent in 2014 compared to 54 percent in 2013.

Officials attributed the nitrogen oxide change to more passenger cruise ship calls (234 calls in 2014 compared to 123 the year prior) and increased emissions from container ships at anchorage due to the congestion late last year.

Overall, the reductions in air pollution shown by the annual emissions inventory are good news for the community.

Long Beach City Health Officer Dr. Mitchell Kushner said the Port’s progress in improving air quality over the last decade is expected to reduce risks in surrounding areas for cancers and other serious illnesses such as asthma and chronic lung disease.

“These lower emission levels translate into major public health benefits, and lead to a more vibrant and healthy community,” said Kushner.

The annual “emissions inventory” is reviewed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, California Air Resources Board and South Coast Air Quality Management District. The Clean Air Action Plan, created in 2006, outlines strategies to significantly reduce pollution from ships, locomotives, trucks, terminal equipment and harbor craft that move cargo.

For the complete emissions inventory, go to www.polb.com/emissions.

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